The transportation issue, a focus of the Chamber and other civic organizations, has advanced significantly in recent weeks. Early in April House Speaker DeLeo and Senate President Murray announced agreement on a framework for transportation legislation. The House and Senate then passed similar bills to implement it. The bills shore up the transportation system’s finances, institute reforms to make it more efficient, and set the stage for expanded service in the future.
The bills authorize significant new transportation revenues, consistent with principles advocated by the Chamber and other groups. They also include business tax increases not supported by the Chamber, including a sales tax on software services and extensive new levies on utilities. Earlier this year, the Governor released a proposal that included much larger increases in business taxes, an increase in the personal income tax, and elimination of tax deductions affecting businesses and residents alike.
A House – Senate conference committee will reconcile the two bills in the weeks ahead and send the final version to the Governor for his review. The Chamber will continue to work with leaders in the Legislature and the Patrick Administration for a transportation bill that addresses the system’s weaknesses and promotes economic growth.